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Review of Scott Simon's memoir of adoption, 'Baby We Were Meant for Each Other'

Sunday, August 22, 2010; B06

BABY, WE WERE MEANT FOR EACH OTHER

In Praise of Adoption

By Scott Simon

Random House. 180 pp. $22

Scott Simon's first night as an adoptive parent wasn't an easy one. Holed up in a hotel on a rainy night in Nanchang, China, he and his wife tried everything to comfort their new daughter as she cried. "Her eyes were dull, defiant, and blistering. Her small cheeks burned so, I wondered if her tears would sizzle," he writes. Still, the hysteria could not mitigate the deep feelings Simon and his wife felt for the child. "Our baby had opened new chambers in our hearts," he writes.

That sense of completeness and unconditional love is what anchors "Baby, We Were Meant For Each Other," Simon's memoir about adoption. Simon weaves together his own experience adopting two daughters from China with the stories of other adoptive parents and adopted children. Simon, an NPR host, and the families he interviews are strikingly candid about the challenges of adoption and the events that lead to it -- the suspense and heartbreak of unsuccessful fertility treatments, the nosy questions from neighbors about how much a child costs, the decision of whether to respond to overtures from a biological parent. Simon's unvarnished portrait is nonetheless an ode to adoption and the joy it can bring to both parent and child. It's clear that each family Simon highlights, including his own, is bound by a strong sense of generosity, empathy and love.

-- Sarah Halzack

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